Kochi

Potholes proliferate on highways, service roads

Tough ride: The dilapidated service road of the Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass. A scene from Chalikkavattom

Tough ride: The dilapidated service road of the Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass. A scene from Chalikkavattom   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Motorists caught unawares; pedestrians too have a tough time

Motorists are encountering difficulties owing to potholes at a few places along the 16-km Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass and all along its service roads.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) cite delay in resurfacing and additional inflow of vehicles owing to traffic diversion as reasons for the formation of potholes at Thykoodam, Vyttila, and Chakkaraparambu on the busy NH Bypass which caters for inter-State, inter-district and intra-city vehicles. This is a safety hazard, especially for two-wheeler riders.

The condition of service roads along the stretch is extremely poor, so much so that there is waterlogging even on days without rain. “Inadequate or lack of drains is a major problem on service roads. This has considerably damaged the tarred surface at many places. We had sought funds from the NHAI head office to build drains and cover them with slabs around a year ago. Members of the public often dump garbage into drains, and it clogs them. Even worse, at least a dozen spots on the bypass have become dumping grounds,” they say.

There is also a need to reinforce the earthen shoulder of roads to support the tarred surface and to ensure the safety of road users. The shoulder has given away at several places on service roads.

“On its part, the PWD [NH wing] and RBDCK must ensure motorable roads in the vicinity of the flyover construction sites at Vyttila and Kundannur,” NHAI sources say, pointing to motorists and pedestrians encountering difficulties while crossing the two junctions.

PWD roads

Meanwhile, the PWD has readied an estimate for the repair of highways and major roads in various districts that were damaged by the unprecedented flooding, says PWD Principal Secretary Kamala Vardhana Rao.

However, he did not specify a deadline for completing repair work. Officials of the department confide that patch work on all roads under the NHAI and Roads Wing of the PWD is likely to be completed by October. “It is doubtful whether we will be able to adhere to the initial deadline of September,” they say.

Patch work has either been arranged or is in the process of being tendered using available funds. Additional funds have been sought from the Ministry for Road Transport and Highways. “Apart from rain, shortage of labourers owing to the festive season is a major issue. There are also instances of contractors unwilling to take up patch and tar-coating work, citing low estimate,” they say.

On its part, the PWD (NH Wing) has not filled gaping potholes on the four-lane Aroor-Chertala stretch on NH 66. Regular users of the busy corridor said the situation would not have deteriorated if the PWD had done pre-monsoon repair and reinforcement work during summer.

In Kochi, numerous roads and bridges owned by the PWD are pothole-ridden, causing traffic hold-ups and accidents. Among them is the Kundannur bridge that links the city with Willingdon Island and West Kochi. “It is possible that the bridge’s drains had been closed when the last round of tar coating was done. This has to be looked into,” a senior PWD official said.

While officials of other departments cite high groundwater table as a reason for roads turning potholed, they are not able to provide a convincing answer to the issue of bridges developing potholes. Approach roads to several bridges too are in a bad shape.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:35:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/potholes-proliferate-on-highways-service-roads/article24787098.ece

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